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Portrait Tattoos at the International Guesthouse in San Diego
Whether it’s the first tattoo or the thirtieth, a portrait tattoo is a style that applies to all kinds of styles and personalities. A portrait tattoo is a depiction of a person, animal, or character that shows dedication, love, or admiration for the subject. What makes portraits so versatile is the ability to incorporate different colors and elements and they can even utilize different styles. As one of the ultimate symbols of appreciation, a portrait tattoo immortalizes that recognition in the form of body art. A portrait is a memorial that carries all of the memories and/or concepts that its depiction upholds.
What is a Portrait Tattoo?
The most common depictions in a portrait tattoo are loved ones, animals, celebrities, or fictional characters. If you want to show adoration for a child or new life or memorialize a loved one who has passed, nothing pays more homage then a portrait tattoo. The same goes for beloved pets and animals that have left a mark on your life. Doggy portraits have become particularly popular and immortalize a companion that made an impact on the bearers life. Themes and other design features can be also be used in portrait tattoos. Things such as a frame that mimic that of an actual picture frame, the name of the person, a date of birth and death, or symbols and other elements are commonly added as well. When memorializing a loved one, praying hands are a common element to add the symbolizes peace in the afterlife. Other religious imagery such as crosses, angels, and wings are also common.
Portraits of movie characters or other fictional characters are also commonplace for this genre of tattoos. As a powerful statement, these types of portrait designs will often use an image that is popular and widely known but is juxtaposed by deeply personal or intimate connection by the bearer with character.
How are Portrait Tattoos Made?
In most cases a portrait is tattooed on an arm, chest, back or shoulder. Since a portrait most often taken from a photo or another image, realism is a key feature of this type of tattoo. To establish the photorealistic qualities, portrait designs are almost always three-dimensional and utilize detailed shading to create powerful sense of lighting in the tattoo. Regardless if the tattoo is completely black and grey or utilizes color as well the use of shading and negative space is a key factor in the design of a portrait tattoo. Your artist will work closely with you to create the right mood and tone in the portrait tattoo you are looking for.
If you would like to use a photo as the basis for your portrait tattoo, which most people do, then it’s important to keep in mind a few things. The first one might seem obvious but tends to be an issues more than you think, and that is image quality. When someone brings in a photo they want to use as the stencil for tattoo design (a stencil is like the foundation of a house, it helps provide the proper structure and proportions of the tattoo before any ink is applied) one of the first things we may look at is the resolution of the image. Not to say that low-res photos are futile to use for a tattoo design, but it makes details of the photo like subtle facial expressions and lighting that much easier to replicate. Also, the distance of the subject in the picture is important to take notice of because in some cases we may want to “zoom in” on them in the stencil to make the details and subject more prominent. Most of the time background scenes and open space are not used in portrait tattoos. The resolution is important here because it can allow us to shorten the length of the reference image and emphasize the subject.
Another thing that is important to have in mind is the symbolic or emotional connection you wish to embody in the design. If you are interested in a getting a portrait tattoo chances are you already have a strong idea of what you are looking to memorialize but it’s good to keep in mind when working with your artists.The backstory or intended symbolism can help give our artists get a better idea of the conceptual nature of the tattoo and work that into the details of the design. If those memories or experiences are personal and you don’t wish to share them we completely understand.
Getting a Portrait Tattoo
Taking the time to research and consider the right tattoo ideas are always things we recommend for anyone considering a portrait tattoo or any other tattoo. Portrait tattoos can be intensely personally and conceptually powerful and considering design aspects will help ensure the best quality tattoo design with us. Our expert artists are known for their ability to create stunningly lifelike portraits and recreations of photos. We find great honor in considering us for a portrait tattoo because we know how personal they can be. We invite you to reach out to use and discuss the ideas you have.